since 1997, the world's premier FREE website for learners + teachers of English

the tip of the iceberg

This page is about the idiom the tip of the iceberg

Meaning: You can say something is the tip of the iceberg when it's just a small part of something much bigger.

For example:

  • The homeless kids who visit us for help are just the tip of the iceberg. There are thousands more we never see.

  • The internet is huge. What you can find through search engines is just the tip of the iceberg.

Origin: Metaphorical, related to the fact that most of an iceberg is below water and cannot normally be seen, and the part above water that can be seen doesn't give a clear idea of how big it really is.

Quick Quiz:

The corruption cases that are brought to court are the tip of the iceberg, and there are

a. no more cases to uncover

b. a few more cases to uncover

c. many more cases to uncover

Idiom of the Day

This entry is in the following categories:

Contributor: Matt Errey